Sunday, October 08, 2006

Outrage and folk songs

If you've not seen Iraq for Sale, Robert Greenwald's stunning, infuriating, horrifying film which should be mandatory viewing for every taxpaying American, Democrat or Republican, try to find a screening. I am pretty well informed about what's going on in this country and in the world and there was much in this film I did not know regarding the corporations which are profiting from the war and the maiming and killing of our citizens. Check it out.

And then, and then, I just have to say this: why oh why do we have to sing folk songs when we're gathering together for political action? I did the whole folk song hippie thing back in the '70s. I got my feet wet protesting Vietnam. I took part in sit-ins and marches fighting Houston's attempt to elect officials citywide rather than by districts, a move which would have excluded the poor, inner city residents, people of color. I marched for the ERA, fought hard for that one, was spit on and cursed by the Schlafly-ites and their ilk, those bitches who were willing to sell out women everywhere. EarthFirst! was my '80s cause and we protested and eco-sabotaged and, yes, we sang a few songs here and there. Actually, all of these events incorporated the singing of folk songs. All of them. Fewer with the women's movement, but then we were so pissed we only occasionally indulged in the singing of angry songs, some with quite lurid and frightening lyrics about the power of vaginas and the violence hidden within each oppressed soul. Every movement had its acoustic guitar musicians and their soft little voices. Did it start with Woody? I don't know and I'm not sure I care.

It's 2006. I am 49 years old. I want to go to the Peace House and see Iraq for Sale and not have to sing songs first. Can't we be earnest and committed and activist and not have to sing about it? I love music, love it. I love classical, baroque, hip hop, rock, pop, techno, trance, soul, chanting monks, Lutheran hymns, opera, Native American drum and chant, Broadway, country, even a little bluegrass and swamp. It was sweet, this singing of folk tunes, it was a little trying, and yes I joined in a bit on "This little light of mine" and "This land is your land." I love Woody, but I think even Woody would be telling us to get over ourselves. Let's visit, let's chat, let's do something, but let's don't sing. Please.

7 Comments:

Anonymous redheadgirl said...

Oh my God Bell! You are so damn funny. I know you aren't kidding, but it's just funny. There's certainly a time and place for music and yes, folk songs, but I wholeheartedly agree. You should be able to be committed, angry, empathetic, etc, without having to sing a folk song every *&^%ing time. Although....I was yearning for a folk song when the Clinton's used Fleetwood Mac's "Don't Stop"....

October 09, 2006 6:09 PM  
Blogger jen said...

Singing, no singing, whatever, I'm just glad that not everyone is following along like sheep as our leaders make one catastrophic decision after another.

October 10, 2006 8:34 AM  
Blogger V'ron said...

I'm torn on this -- on one hand I agree wholeheartedly, stop with the folk songs, for the love of Pete (seeger!) please stop! On the other hand, the right wing has successfully convinced theyr'e the party and philosophy of the salt of the earth; folk songs are a tiny reminder of who the salt of the earth really are.

October 11, 2006 9:21 AM  
Blogger Stamp Til Dawn said...

Ha, well I find you very funny and witty even though I think we are on polar opposites politically.... so why not disagree about the songs too.

Ok, so I don't want/need to sing songs at political events, but music stirs the soul. In church, music is used to invite the spirit because music somehow connects us. It awakens something inside of us. Since politicians want to make you feel a part of something bigger...I'm afraid music and political rallies will continue to go hand in hand...

This land is your land....

October 12, 2006 2:36 PM  
Anonymous Lynn said...

Not one post all week? Missing you!

October 13, 2006 3:43 PM  
Blogger CactusFreek said...

Wow, now tell us what you really think! lol

You go girl! :o)

October 16, 2006 8:38 AM  
Blogger FatMom said...

BAB? Where have you been? Missin' ya...

October 16, 2006 6:17 PM  

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